an simple installer app for Debian on top of Android (click below to download an apk, the bottom is the newest)
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Lil' Debi

This is an app to setup and manage a Debian install in parallel on an Android
phone.  It can build a Debian install from scratch or use an existing image.
It manages the starting and stopping of the Debian install.

It uses debootstrap to build up the disk image as a chroot, and then provides
start and stop methods for handling mounting, fsck, starting/stopping sshd,

It is 100% free software. Ultimately, our aim is to have the whole
process for every bit of this app documented so that it can be freely
inspected, modified, ported, etc.  We want this app to build a trusted Debian
install on the phone, so free software is the only way to get there.  This is
currently functional alpha software, so do not rely on it to produce a trusted
Debian install.  Please do try it out, use it, and report criticisms, bugs,
improvements, etc.

Installing Debian

The process of installing Debian with Lil' Debi is self-explanatory, just run
the app and click the Install... button.  But it doesn't yet work on all
phones.  If the install process fails on your phone, you can still use Lil'
Debi by downloading a pre-built Debian image.  It should work with any
Debian/Ubuntu/Mint armel image file.  Here is a Debian image file that was
built by Lil' Debi:

Download the file, uncompress it and rename it 'debian.img' and copy it to
your SD Card.  Launch Lil' Debi, and you should now see the button says "Start
Debian".  Click the button to start your new Debian install.

Build Setup

On Debian/Ubuntu/Mint/etc.:

  sudo apt-get install autoconf automake libtool transfig wget patch \
       texinfo ant make openjdk-6-jdk

Both the Android SDK and the Android NDK are needed:



Building Lil' Debi is a multi-step process including clone the sources,
getting busybox code as a submodule, building the native utilities, and then
finally building the Android app.  Here are all those steps in a form to run
in the terminal:

  git clone
  cd lildebi
  git submodule init
  git submodule update
  make NDK_BASE=/path/to/your/android-ndk -C external assets
  ant debug

Once that has completed, you can install it however you would normally install
an .apk file.  You will find the .apk in the bin/ folder.  An easy way to
install it via the terminal is to run:

  adb install bin/LilDebi-debug.apk

Original Sources


debootstrap is downloaded directly from Debian, extracted, patched, and then
tar-bzipped into the included tarball assets/debootstrap.tar.bz2. See
external/debootstrap/Makefile for details.


pkgdetails comes from OpenWRT's debootstrap and is included in this git repo
and built using external/Makefile


busybox is included as a git submodule and built from source by
externals/Makefile using a custom config file.


Building gpgv for Android is quite complicated, so the binary is included in
this project. The binary is built from source using the gnupg-for-android
build system.  The binary ends up in external/data/ called gpgv2-static.  To
build it yourself, follow the included instructions.


Maybe Android devices ship without an fsck program to check ext2/3/4
filesystems even tho ext4 is the default filesystem for Android since 4.0.
Since building e2fsck is tricky, especially for Android, Lil' Debi uses the
Debian package for a static e2fsck build for ARMel, which is fully compatible
with the Android ARM ABI.  To get the original sources and build process, see
the official Debian page and packaging for e2fsck-static.